Matilda's Reviews > Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

Backlash by Susan Faludi
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Nov 21, 10


I'm pretty biased to Faludi, so I can't review this book objectively. I enjoy her style, which is semi-academic, and I like the way she pulls up seemingly unrelated puzzle pieces from under the sofa, the shelf, the dog's slobbery mouth and creates a jigsaw that makes the reader go, "Duh, now I get the big picture."

Faludi's classic focuses on the late 70s and early 80s United States, to a time when women's rights were supposedly set. Roe vs. Wade came about, women were entering the work force more and more, and equality seemed to be on its way. The backlash of the title refers to the reactions of politicians, the media and popular culture to women's lib. Examples vary from such fluffy items as women portrayed in popular TV series to explicit statements made by Ronald Reagan about women and feminism especially.

Although at first one might wonder why the book spends so much time on popular culture ("aren't there more important issues that feminists need to tackle?"), it soon becomes obvious that a backlash does not necessarily mean one clear, defining event of people yelling "No!" at the top of their lungs. Sometimes, it is perpetrated by small jabs, a mocking tone and a cleverly placed ad--and because these are such small things, we do not pay attention to them unless they are listed in one volume. Only then we might realize that we're the proverbial frog in the boiling pot.

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